HP Pavilion x360 13.3" Review: Best Budget Student Laptop?

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HP Pavilion x360 13.3" Review: Best Budget Student Laptop?
Hp Pavilion X360 13.3" Review: Best Budget Student Laptop?

HP Pavilion x360 13.3″ gold convertible laptop review
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It’s that time of year again when all the kids and some of us adults are heading back to school, and it brings up a popular topic: what is the best laptop for students? For Windows, the 2016 HP Pavilion x360 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that makes a strong case for being a great choice. Full Disclaimer: I did receive this laptop for free to review, but like all my reviews these are my honest and personal opinions so let’s get right into it.

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The HP Pavilion x360 comes in 3 sizes: 11.6″, 13.3″, and 15.6″. I have the 13.3″ model which is the most popular so that’s what I’ll be focusing on throughout this video. The 13.3″ comes in 2 different colors, gold like the one I have here or silver, and it starts at just $429 which makes it very budget-friendly. However I do suggest paying a little more to get better specs on certain hardware which I’ll go over in this review.

Let’s start with performance which is mainly based on CPU, RAM, and storage drive speed. As far as CPU goes, the 6th generation Intel processor in this laptop is great at handling all the daily tasks I’ve thrown at it (surfing the web, typing documents, watching videos, playing music, etc). All base models come with Intel HD 520 graphics and the CPU starts at Core i3, but can be configured to Core i5 for faster performance which is what I recommend. The DDR4 RAM starts at 4GB but can be configured up to 12GB, but I think 8GB is the best choice for most people. The most important factor in performance is the storage drive. The base model comes with a 500GB hard drive and I always tell people to avoid hard disk drives like the plague, especially 5400 RPM drives which are very slow. So I highly recommend getting the 128GB solid state drive option. Yes it’s less storage, but the speed of the SSD will make your computer run so much faster which will make you much happier in the long run and plus you can use cloud storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

The SSD is also helps battery life. The HP Pavilion x360 has a 3-cell 41 watt hour lithium ion battery, and I was very pleased with the battery life. With the SSD model, starting at 100% charge I was able to get 6 hours 16 minutes of use with 15% battery remaining.

The 13.3″ is a nice size, not too bulky but also not too small to hinder functionality. It weighs 3.48 lbs and it’s only 0.8″ thin. The x360 is not as small and lightweight as my Dell XPS 13, but the XPS 13 also costs more and is not a convertible laptop. I think any student or traveler should be more than fine using the x360 as their primary laptop.

One of my favorite features of the HP Pavilion x360 is the keyboard. The keys have a slightly textured finish. The keys have adequate spacing and I can type extremely fast. I’m not as big a fan of the touchpad. I like the smoothness and responsiveness of it and the multi-touch gestures but it’s not a precision touchpad.

The x360 has plenty of ports. The left side has one USB 2.0 port along with a headphone jack. The right side has a memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. Even though the display is an IPS touchscreen with great viewing angles, the base model has a lackluster 1366×768 resolution display. After using a Retina display on a MacBook and a 4K UHD display on the XPS 13, going to a screen that is not full HD is a bummer. It’s noticeable, but the good news is that there’s an option for a full HD 1920×1080 display.

The dual speaker bar is pretty decent. The speakers are custom tuned in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen so that’s a plus, but to me they aren’t spectacular or anything but they do sound good and get pretty loud.

One of the best features of this laptop is the convertible design. The laptop can flip all the way around on its 360 degree hinge. This essentially gives it 4 different usable modes: Laptop mode is the normal way you use a laptop, mostly for typing. Stand mode is best for watching movies and video chatting. Tent mode is recommended for viewing photos or playing with apps and games. Tablet mode is good for browsing social media feeds or reading. They all work pretty well and Windows will automatically switch to tablet mode when you rotate the screen past 180 degrees which is nice. The 360 degree hinge is an awesome feature because it allows for speedy productivity but also convenience when you want to procrastinate and binge watch Netflix.

The HP Pavilion x360 is a great fit for students on a budget looking for a productive yet fun laptop that should be able to last them quite a while.


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Best Budget Student Laptop? HP Pavilion x360 Review!

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